Filartiga v Pena –Irala 630 D2nd 876 (1980)

Citizens of Uruguay, opponents of Alfredo Strowessner, that had applied for permanent political asylum in the US, brought civil action against another citizen of Paraguay, who was in the US on a visitor’s visa, for wrongfully causing the death of their son by use of torture as Inspector General of Police in Asuncion, in retaliation of his father political believes, relief sought $10,000,000 USD.

Deliberate torture perpetrated under the color of official authority violates universally accepted norms of international law of human rights regardless of the nationality of the parties, and thus, whenever an alleged torturer is found and served with process by an alien within the borders of the US, the Alien Tort Statute (1976, but enacted in Judiciary Act 1789) provides federal jurisdiction. For purpose of civil liability the torturer has become, like the pirate and slave trader, hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind ATS 28.1350 ‘the district courts shall have original jurisdiction on any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the US’